Top 10 Used Hybrids


If you want to take part in the green revolution but can’t afford a new hybrid there is an alternative that didn’t exist 10 years ago; buy a used one. Now that hybrids have been on the market for just over a decade used ones are starting to show up on some car lots.  With a little bit of research, and some luck, it is possible to find a good used hybrid. Hopefully my list of top 10 used hybrids will help you in your quest.

  1. Toyota Prius – 2nd generation. That’s right, I like the 2nd generation Prius better than the 3rd (current generation).  The main reasons are reliability, braking and visibility.  The 2nd generation Prius also has better dashboard readouts than the 3rd.  It has proven to be very reliable and although its MPG isn’t as good as the 3rd generation it is still very good.  The only bad thing is Toyota stopped making the 2nd generation Prius in 2009 and it’s hard to find one in good condition — mainly because the people who own them are keeping them.
  2. Honda Civic Hybrid – 2nd generation.  A solid hybrid that has about the same MPG as the second generation Prius.  The main drawback to the Civic Hybrid is the battery pack is only warranted for 80,000 miles, however, this can make it fairly easy to bargain with the dealer. If the Civic has been driven close to or more than 80,000 miles it should cost no more than a used gas powered Civic.   The handling is excellent, the interior is comfortable and well laid out, but it is noisy.
  3. Ford Fusion Hybrid – 1st generation (2007- 2012).  Another solid, fairly reliable hybrid.  The main drawback is used ones are hard to find and the Fusion doesn’t have the high MPG of the first two choices.  However, the Fusion can seat 5 comfortably and has excellent visibility – better than most hybrids.  The acceleration is decent and the Fusion is not as noisy as some of the other choices. The instrument panel is a little confusing but no worse than some of the other hybrids.
  4. Honda Insight – 2nd generation.  A little tinny, a little noisy, but not a bad car by any means.  Many would disagree with me, but I give it a slight edge over the 3rd generation Prius because it is cheaper, handles better, has more comfortable seats, better ergonomics and a very good dashboard readouts.
  5. Toyota Prius – 3rd generation (2010 – present).  Maybe because I owned a 3rd generation Prius (familiarity breeds contempt) but I just don’t think it is that great a hybrid.  The mileage is excellent, but the seats are uncomfortable, the visibility is poor and the brakes are iffy; if you do purchase a used Prius, make sure it has had the brake software updated.  The Prius is not a terrible car by any means, just not as good as the first four.
  6. Ford Escape Hybrid – 1st generation.  Pretty much the only choice among SUV hybrids.  While Saturn did make a hybrid version of the Saturn Vue it was only a “mild-hybrid” its gas mileage was only slightly better than the a 4-cylinder Vue.  Not very many were made and even fewer were sold.  The Escape Hybrid on the other hand, is reliable, gets significantly better gas mileage than non-hybrid version and has the advantages of an SUV.  Because not all that many Escape Hybrids were sold it could be hard to find.
  7. Lexus CTh200 (2010 – present).  Expensive, hard to find and slow.  Built on the Toyota Matrix frame the CTh200 is the cheapest Lexus made.  There’s a reason.  The CTh200 is only a slightly better car than the Prius, yet it costs thousands more.  Its hard to find a used one at a lower price than a brand new Prius. On the plus side, Lexus dealers are known for outstanding customer service.
  8. Mercury Mariner Hybrid SUV.  Its a twin to the Ford Escape SUV so why rank it lower?  Because it’s a Mercury.  The Mercury name plate doesn’t exist anymore which lowers it’s value, plus it’s very unlikely you will find a Mariner hybrid because so few were sold.  If you do find a Mariner, it is a decent hybrid that can carry five people and their luggage.  Since most of the mechanicals are shared with the Escape Hybrid you should be able to find parts for it.
  9. Toyota Prius – 1st generation.  If the price is low enough and the battery pack has been replaced it might be a good purchase.  These cars are rock solid. It’s a hard to find hybrid because not very many were sold, plus the people who bought them seem to be hanging on to them.  Like the 1st generation Insight, owning a 1st generation Prius is like owning a piece of automotive history.
  10.   Honda Insight – 1st generation.  It’s often forgotten that the Insight, not the Prius, was the first hybrid sold in America — maybe because the Insight was such an undesirable car for so many reasons.  The Insight only seated two, its ride was harsh and unforgiving, plus it was noisy with poor visibility.  On the other hand, it was kind of fun to drive (as long as you didn’t drive it for very long).  Also, unlike some hybrids, it was kind of sporty looking and available with a manual transmission.  Odds are you won’t be able to find one, according to Wikipedia only 17,020 were sold… globally.  If you can find one, and its in decent condition, buy it because any car this rare should hold its value.

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2 Replies to “Top 10 Used Hybrids”

  1. Patrick Rhoades says:

    10 was also the pinnacle of hybrid mpg which hasn’t bee touched yet.

    1. Doug Smith says:

      Very true. For all its negatives I would love to get my hands on one.

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